Does diversity mean faster home price increases?

November 13, 2012 02:30PM

It appears that the more diverse a neighborhood, the faster the real estate prices rise, according to Trulia, which took a look at the most diverse metropolitan areas and neighborhoods across the U.S., in anticipation of Thanksgiving, which many consider a celebration of American diversity.

In diverse neighborhoods, the median price per square foot rose 1.9 percent, or $157, between October 2011 and 2012, while in non-diverse neighborhoods the same metric increased only 1.2 percent, or $142, Trulia found.

“Americans, therefore, are moving toward diverse neighborhoods,” Trulia said. “However, growth in those neighborhoods could affect their diversity: if prices in diverse neighborhoods rise, lower-income residents may get priced out over time.”

New York City is the second most diverse metropolitan area in the U.S. after San Jose, Calif., Trulia said, citing data from the U.S. Census. However, only one New York City neighborhood made it into the top ten most diverse neighborhoods nationwide: Queens Village, Queens came in at No. 2.

Rounding out the most diverse metro areas were Oakland, Calif.; Houston, Texas; and Honolulu, Hawaii. The most diverse neighborhood in the nation was Irving, Texas, a town east of Dallas. Small and relatively unknown suburbs — like Dorchester, Mass., and a number of Honolulu neighborhoods — made up the bulk of the most diverse neighborhoods, Trulia noted.

The data also showed that expensive neighborhoods were generally not diverse, but that “hip” neighborhoods often were. For example, less than 65 percent of residents in Williamsburg, Chicago’s Wicker Park and Los Angeles’ Silver Lake are white, although whites make up 70 percent of the U.S. population, according to the data. [Trulia] –Guelda Voien